Live Review - The Osmonds - Manchester Apollo. 31/3/12
6:05pm Sunday 1st April 2012 in Music Reviews
“WE want The Osmonds!” was the cry as a pre-dominantly female audience screamed for their heroes to come back on stage to do an encore.
And why not? They – and I – had just been treated to an evening of top-class entertainment and music from a band celebrating almost 55 years in the business.
Our appetites were whetted with a 20-minute trivia film of Osmond history and a short set from The Dropouts, who just happen to be The Osmonds’ backing musicians.
Jay, Merrill and Jimmy took to the stage to the stomping Crazy Horses (Wayne was supposed to be in the line-up, but due to illness he couldn’t make the trip), and then we had a trio of their biggest hits – Down By The Lazy River, We’re Having A Party and The Proud One – just to get us in the mood.
Following that, the sibling trio took us right back to their barbershop singing days with The Auctioneer (“The first song we ever learned,” quipped Jimmy).
After all this time, they are still recording and dotted here and there in the set were a number of tracks from their brand-new album – released this month due to demand created by radio plays. The pick of these were Can’t Get There Without You, Remember Me and the single I Need You – all of which were enthusiastically received by the audience.
Ah yes, the audience. It has to be said that many were first-generation Osmond fans and the required screaming was much in evidence, evoking memories of Osmondmania.
Backdrop projections from Osmond history were shown throughout the evening and every time a photo of Donny appeared, the roof nearly came off the theatre – it’s just a pity he wasn’t there.
The ovations after each song seemed to surprise the three brothers, who genuinely looked humbled by it all.
The Osmonds may have been denigrated in the past, but they produced some great music and are all fine musicians.
Jay’s drum solo after Hold Her Tight was as good as any rock drummer I’ve seen, Merrill’s bass playing was superb, and Jimmy had a touch of the Keith Emerson’s with a flame-throwing keyboard.
The Osmonds have always been known for their singing prowess and the vocals throughout the evening were spot-on; they sang such incredible harmonies.
They even had the choreography down pat.
More hits followed, and a track from their concept album The Plan, entitled Are You Up there, was cleverly added to by their unique rendition of I Believe.
Of course, Jimmy had to sing Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, but in a more soulful and grown-up version (although I missed the banjo).
The evening went far too quickly and after the crowd shouted for them, they came back to sing Love Me For A Reason and they finally left the stage to a reprise of Crazy Horses.
All their hits, great music and memories in abundance – what more could you ask?
Sadly this is their final UK tour as a group.
It’s a shame.